Peaceful coexistence is the most important project of our era
Posted on April 24th, 2016

Samantha Ranatunga

Peaceful coexistence is the most important project of our era which we cannot do in isolation, but together.

The huge challenge faced by the country today at the end of the staggering war lasting for 30 long years is to bring national amity among people belonging to different races, religions and communities and it’s a given that we cannot afford to leave this gigantic task purely in the hand of our politicians. As responsible citizens it is important to recognize that it’s our bounded duty to rise to the occasion and pioneer this effort to bring amity, setting an example for others to emulate and especially for the younger generations to follow. Sri Lanka, a post war country recovering from thirty years of internal conflict, though it has been achieved a sustainable development, the greatest challenge Sri Lanka faces presently is to maintain the peace and stability it has achieved.

At a crucial juncture when ethnic harmony is the most needed, Sri Lanka can glean from the life of V.T.S. Sivagurunathan a stalwart at Ananda College during its critical, formative years. Starting his services at Ananda as an assistant teacher in 1916 and rising quickly to spend the bulk of his time as Headmaster until he retired in 1942, his association with Ananda continued for a further 30 years or so even though he lived in Jaffna after retirement.

It’s in this context that for the past 5 years, the Jaffna and Colombo communities have been tied in a ceremonial bond through a celebrated cricket tournament between Ananda College Colombo and Jaffna Hindu College under the rubric Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge.” A unique encounter between the two beacons of Hindu and Buddhist educational institutions in Sri Lanka, this union between the two schools can be dubbed as a most futuristic attempt towards positive change. What Ananda means for the Sinhalese-Buddhists, JHC means for the Tamil-Hindus.

This tournament is to create a schools cricket cum debate festival that went beyond the boundaries in a harmonious bond. It is looked at as a way to create a tournament which combined Sports and English with community involvement thereby tightening the communal bond and building bridges on age old traditions, to provide opportunities for students, staff, and parents to transcend the physical and mental barriers that have built up over the last few decades.

This tournament to be held on Sunday 1st May at Nalanda College Grounds at 9.30am gives reason for the Colombo residents to visit Jaffna and for the Jaffna residents to visit Colombo. To this effect, the Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge has proven to be fruitful.

This year too an associated event, the English Debate for the Panikkar–Thanabalasingham Challenge” in memory of two senior teachers who excelled in teaching science and encouraging English at Ananda, will be held in connection with the tournament along with the celebratory banquet where the presentation of awards is held. The debate is scheduled to be held on Saturday 30th April at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute at 5.00pm. The celebratory Banquet dinner is scheduled to be held on 1st May at The Kingsbury at 7.00pm.

What is new in the banquet this year will be its latest addition: this year, the banquet will take the novel form of a Business Forum in which eminent champions of industry from both schools will make their presence under the patronage of the Chief Guest, the Hon. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, K. Sripavan who himself is an alumnus of JHC.

The debate is scheduled to be held on Saturday 30th April at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute at 5.00pm. The celebratory Banquet dinner is scheduled to be held on 1st May at The Kingsbury at 7.00pm.

These activities by these two leading schools from the opposite ends of the country will no doubt make a larger impact to building harmony amongst the youth of this great nation.

Samantha Ranatunga

One Response to “Peaceful coexistence is the most important project of our era”

  1. Nimal Says:

    Peaceful co- existence among the ethnic communities is the only option or we will be broken and disintegrated like Syria and Libya. Should we discover oil then that day of reckoning will be closer.

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